I am sure I have read a book in the last six months. Maybe even two or three. Now that the reno is over I have run out of excuses for not reading, so here goes.
According to my notebooks I read Born To Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture by Juliet Schor and there wasn't much in there that I didn't know; companies spend billions marketing all kinds of products to children. I was creeped out by the use of viral and peer-to-peer marketing — using kids to sell stuff to their friends. The other annoying thing is the way marketing and consumer culture loves to position parents as dorky ineffectual losers who should be ignored as much as possible.
Also worth noting is the connection between immersion in consumer culture and depression in children. One of the great things my parents did for me (although not entirely intentionally) was shelter me from consumer culture to a large entent, partially by not having TV (or not having cable) and partially just because we couldn't afford lots of toys so we mostly found our fun in books from the library and plenty of public radio. Good geeky fun.
Kids Are Worth It: Raising Children to be Responsible, Resourceful, Caring Individuals by Barbara Coloroso is a book I read because it's often quoted in the parenting magazines, and it seemed like one of those books I ought to read. And I'm really glad I did; it crystallized a lot of the vague parenting philosophies I'd had and gave me lots of ideas and structure for how to implement them: how to treat my kids with respect, how to provide consequences, how to discipline. Coloroso is a great resource for a frazzled mum because she gives you lots of bulleted lists and mnemonics so you can recall her advice in moments of stress. Which are most of them, really.
Alright, I've read more than two books in the last six months but now the stupid (I mean lovely) baby is awake so you'll have to wait another six months for my next post. Adios!